First up is Mean Jellybean, a Dark Age figure, finally finding his home on that weird custom base that I showed as a WIP on the blog.
As disturbing a personality as Mean Jellybean seems to be, his pose and presence impressed me as something belonging to a heroic figure, albeit a dark and sinister one. To my mind, the image looks like it belongs on a movie poster, so I wanted to show the piece with an explosive background and a grindhouse-style label, along with an appropriately sensational title.
Next is my first attempt to paint a Rackham figure. Or effectively twelve of them, as it turns out!
The idea to paint a unit of multiple cavalry figures occured in only the last month leading up to Crystal Brush. The folks on the Dragonpainting forum proposed for their monthly challenge to paint a Rackham figure in the old style of the Rackham studio models. This idea excited me, because I would be able to kill multiple birds with one stone:
- I could finally paint my first Rackham figures. I only very recently gained enough confidence in my painting skill to give justice to what I consider to be the finest gaming figures in the hobby.
- I could add a unit to my long-delayed Orc & Goblin army for Warhammer.
- I could gain more practice painting NMM.
- I could have a relatively novel entry for Crystal Brush.
This kind of stress is something I tried to prevent this year, but the intensity level turned out to be productive in an unexpected way. Painting for competition is basically an excuse to force me to paint at high intensity. Otherwise, I would pace out the painting at a leisurely pace, take shortcuts, and/or just lower my standard, especially for figures that I intend to game with (i.e. the Strohm Warriors). But by painting almost every day, the exercise highlighted to me my limitations and weaknesses. Namely, achieving better opacity; better definition; better contrast and light placement for NMM; and better skills building from dark to light. These are areas I still need to improve -- I recognized these deficiencies as I painted these projects for Crystal Brush. And I still see these deficiencies in the final result!
Halfway through the month, I concluded that I'm unsatisfied with my current skill level. I'm still OK with the pace that I'm progressing, but I now have more specific goals of where I want my skill level to be. I am coming out of this furious exercise more motivated to raise my standard. So competition painting, something I've had little interest in, has surprisingly lit a little fire in my belly!